Former Pittsburgh All-American Ronnie Gainsford has passed away at the age of 84 after a battle with cancer.
Gainsford swam for the Panthers from 1950-1954, serving as captain of the 1954 Pitt team that took 4th place at the NCAA Championships. He was diagnosed with stage four cancer just before Pitt’s 100-year celebration meet in January, according to the school.
Gainsford followed up his athletic career by becoming the first head coach in West Virginia University history.
In addition to his collegiate accolades, Gainsford was also an inspirational Masters swimmer, returning to competitive swimming in his early 70s after a heart transplant.
In July of 2008, Gainsford competed in the National Transplant Games as the oldest swimmer in the competition. He was 78 years old at the time and won four gold medals.
You can read more about that competition in this Pitt profile from June of 2009.